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Audiovisual FILM STUDIES FOR FREE

Selected Videographic Essays and Criticism by Catherine Grant

Edward Dmytryk's THE SNIPER Vertigoed

An entry for Press Play's VERTIGOED Contest (blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/the-vertigo-contest) by Catherine Grant (filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com)..

Kim Novak, co-star of VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958), took out an ad in VARIETY (blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/kim-novak-upset-about-use-of-vertigo-score-in-the-artist-dramatically-calling-it-rape) protesting the use of Bernard Herrmann's VERTIGO score in Michel Hazanavicius’s 2011 modern silent film THE ARTIST. "I want to report a rape," went the headline. "I feel as if my body - or at least my body of work -- has been violated by the movie, THE ARTIST," Novak wrote, and went on to decry the “use and abuse [of] famous pieces of work to gain attention and applause for other than what they were intended.”

Enter the story the PRESS PLAY blog which launched a contest -- inviting readers to re-use Herrmann's "Scene d'Amour" music in their own mash-up -- inspired by the idea that "Bernard Herrmann's VERTIGO score is so passionate and powerful that it can elevate an already good scene -- and a familiar one at that -- to a higher plane of expression."

THE SNIPER (Edward Dmytryk, 1952), with its own, obsessed, wandering male protagonist and San Francisco setting, was one of the films that probably directly inspired Hitchcock's VERTIGO (as well as his 1960 film PSYCHO -- see critic Dave Kehr's thoughts on this: davekehr.com/?p=21).

This mash-up chooses, thus, to marry Herrmann's lush Wagnerian romance with a key sequence from Dmytryk's brilliant film, with its astonishing performance of overt misogyny by Arthur Franz as Edward "Eddie" Miller -- perhaps the perfect, filmic, mirror-image of James Stewart's unforgettable, unconsciously misogynist, John "Scottie" Ferguson.

The original amusement park sequence from THE SNIPER can currently be seen here: youtube.com/watch?v=era_MmT1UUw.

The above video was made according to principles of Fair Use/Fair Dealing, with non-commercial scholarly and critical aims, and was published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License in January 2012.